The True Dreamers

The Book of Deeds, Earth dreamers. Sixteenth Entry

This awakening saw the facing of their single largest foe as well as the unmasking of the inner demon of their smallest member. The core group of dreamers awakened; Reille, Corik, Tinnyen, Jaythier, Darkel and Sammael. I once again hid them from watching eyes on their dream walk to the summoning chambers. As soon as all arrived I returned them to Arastia

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They began, facing the door into the mountainside with the missing handle. The door gave to their firm push and in they went.

“They saw a stairway going down and the forward into a large hallway. Ahead they saw the hallway expands into a great entrance hall. The craftsmanship of the dwarves is evident everywhere. So too unfortunately is the disuse of the Trolls as all manner of filth and destruction seems to have been visited upon the stonework in these halls.”

They pushed on, down the stairs and into the long corridor ahead and into the large entrance hall.

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“Something smells wrong, foul. There is a taint everywhere, a yellow barely breathable fog covers this room. Something like the foul mess they encountered outside the gatehouse but far more immediate, more fresh, if such a word could be applied to so toxic a presence. Before them the hallway falls away and they see a giant entrance hall. A great stone door glowing slightly blue can just be seen through the fog on the opposite side of the great hall. There are no pillars holding up the roof. Some Dwarven artifice must keep the ceiling from collapsing without obvious support. To the left there is a large pile of rubble and the smell of air both fresh and foul. To the right the hall is mostly undisturbed.”

They started across the room. Only to be charged by a fully adult green dragon much larger than the one they fought the day before. It cried out upon seeing and smelling them.

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“I smell the blood of Antharosk upon you. Thanketos will make you pay for the slaying of her daughter.”

And with that she breathed out poison vapors upon them all. Nearly all were slowed by the poison. They fought Thanketos bravely with all of their usual tricks but the feeling was brewing that they might be outmatched. Then the little Gnome darkpact warlock summoned her strongest magic, failing she also accidentally alerted the demon (Xtrasin) who provides his darkpact powers, a mere 1 in 100 chance.

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Xtrasin appeared and called out the Gnome (Darkel) to give himself up as promised in the Pact. The dragon refused to give up the gnome to Xtrasin. The Demon and Dragon set upon each other. The Demon controlled the party to attack the dragon. And the three sided fight continued at a fury pitch. The party decided to try and add a fourth side to the fight and open the door to the Dwarves. Unfortunately the Dragon would not allow it and blocked the door. Doing so she gave up on the gnome.

Xtrasin called out once more for his pledge. The Deva (fallen angel) and servant of Torm Deity of the Forgotten Realm said no, and offered himself instead of Darkel. Torm was so moved by the sacrifice he heard the pledge from across the multi-verse.

He spoke through Sammael, his Deva servant and said. “It will not be so.”

The demon was instantly banished. Torm took the Deva with him to serve as his personal Exarch. Sammael the fallen angel of a thousand lifetimes had ascended to be by his Deity once more. But Sammael was also a Dream avatar of Anthony. Anthony’s Avatar reformed as his dream self-image rematerialized. A new Sammael was created, an echo of the first, who had to immediately choose a new Deity. He chose Kultha-at Freltor (the silver): God of justice, liberation, defense, war, righteousness, law, discipline, fairness and civilization of Arastia. This all happened in the time between the blink of an eye.

But there was still a dragon, to fight, somewhat wounded but not yet close to bloodied. Darkel had lost his abilities and retreated into a corner as he communed, deciding where to align his warlock powers, out of the fight for a time. Kelsey of Earth recreated her Avatar Darkel as a feypact Warlock. It took some time for her Avatar’s abilities to form as they rewove themselves to fey.

The party fought Thanketos against the gate wounding it further. Then they brought forth the gate key; an orb and talked about using magic to move the dragon long enough to open the gate. The dragon heard them, took flight and swallowed the orb whole as it flew by Sammael. That option down, they fought on.

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Tinnyen decided to go after the dragon’s hoard. He and Darkel headed for the hoard. Darkel began to scoop it up into his bag of holding. The dragon was incensed and flew directly to them, its wings almost touching the roof of the great hall. It fought Tinnyen and hurt him badly. But the party hounded it in the now cramped space of the broken cave just off the main entrance hall, blooding the dragon. The fight continued as character after character dropped. Only to be brought back to the fight by Reille the Paladin, Corik the Dwarven Ranger and his bandolier of healing potions, Sammael the Divine Invoker or Jaythier the Artificers magical healing infuser. Soon the potions were depleted, the healing surges nearly so, the Paladin had no more used of Lay on Hands and Sammael had used the last of his Invoker divine healing. They faced Thanketos and fought on refusing to give up. But they began to fail with no recourse left to them. Corik fell. It looked grim. Darkel drew fey power against the great green dragon and it wavered and fell.

They rushed to Corik side and used their healing skills to stabilize him. They collapsed utterly exhausted. After they regained their strength they picked through Thanketos hoard and found many items of great magic, befitting their triumph. They cut the orb carefully from the belly of the beast and now before them was only the great door.

“The great glowing stone door is sealed and nigh on indestructible. It cannot seem to be teleported through nor moved by magic. On the left door is a bas relief of a Dwarven craftsman, his smiths hammer pointing towards the right door and the on the right door there is a relief of a Dwarven fighter pointing his axe at the left door. Where the two implements nearly meet is a small hemispherical depression.”

Tinnyen placed the orb in its place on the door between the bas relief dwarves.

“The reliefs suddenly moved. The smith’s hammer and the fighter’s axe moved upwards over the heads of the dwarves and the doorway split apart. They saw a long great hall before them. A large contingent of Dwarven warriors in shining filigree armor had gathered at the door. Perhaps as many as a hundred axes and hammers rose as one and made a flourish toward them. They were not sure if it was a salute or a warning, perhaps both. A single dwarf in golden robes with a rod topped with a small hammer head speaks in a booming clear voice.”

The Dwarf speaks

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“I am Thardgrim, Warden of the gate. Who has broken the seal and where is Thanketos Wyrm of the green death, sealer of the mountain? Be ye friend or foe ye best speak quickly.”

Sammael used his knowledge of religion to notice, Thardgrim’s robes had an embroidered, stylized, silver hammer indicating that he also worships Kultha-at Freltor.

Corik spoke first telling them they had slain Thanketos and indicating the body in the distance.

Thardgrim repiled, “That dragon is the last thing my brother and I saw when the gate was last opened ninety-seven years ago. As I dragged my bother back from the battle with the Troll Lord a great dragon appeared. We barely were able to close the gate. The great eye staring through the crack as it closed was a memory that is carved in my heart to this day. You have done us a great service by slaying it and marked yourselves as Selakor Selthannad; Friends of SilverSlag. And you are my friend as well for the poison of the beast finished off my ailing brother.”

Tinnyen attempted to step up and be a speaker with his gifts at diplomacy.

Thardgrim interrupted him, “Fancy words and silvered tongues will not avail you now. Speak the truth unvarnished or speak not”.

Corik continued, convinced Thardgrim the party spoke for LongShadow.

Thardgrim repiled, “Well the Dwarves are not the only ones with Iron in their blood. By the Silver Hammer to have held out so long with nothing but their wits and determination. I’ll say that the Dwarves of Selthannad could do worse for Allies. But then we have been allies before.” Corik asked if the alliance of old could be reforged.

Thardgrim repiled, “Alliances are forged in deeds. One such was done this day as you carved a path to our gate through the green death itself. But more must be done. Two peoples will face battle together and win and alliances can be sealed. Let us speak of other matters until the day our two peoples are victorious in battle.”

Corik, Reille, Sammael and Tinnyen’s insight lead them to understand The Dwarves would not forge an alliance without fighting side by side with their potential allies and tasting their mettle. And that they are a warrior people who would fight without an alliance if it is one of their own foes.

Corik asked plainly for their aid in the coming battle.

Thardgrim repiled, “You are Selakor Selthannad; Friends of SilverSlag. You have proven yourself worthy and as such I alone can vouch that a force be sent. But let us speak of what you need and what we can do together. You have comported yourselves well here today. Who can say what will come of it. Come it is night and the door must be sealed for now against the night foes. Tonight we dine on dragon’s breast and the sweet mead of dragon’s blood. Let us retire to the dining hall Selakor Selthannad; Friends of SilverSlag.”

The party agreed.

The dwarves set to the dragon with axes and pull much of it in the hall before closing and sealing the door. They took choice joints of meat off for roasting.

Thardgrim took them to a waiting area with stone benches outside of a great feasting hall, not far from the entrance. They smell the tangy smell of the dragon meat being prepared and cooked as he speaks to them.

“While we wait let me tell you my story.

I and my brother Tharth are Nobles of Selthannad. In the days of my youth we set ourselves great deeds and the greatest of these we thought would be clearing of the halls. We took our loyal retainers and borrowed ourselves a Master Orb. We drugged the guardians of the Gate and opened the way.

A Troll band and their Lord awaited us. We twenty fought them only to see them arise again and again. One by one we fell as they returned to life. We were young and foolish luckily it was my brother who saw that a torch burned them. With half of us down we pulled out oil and began dosing the Trolls as we butchered them. We set them alight, certain that we had won the day. But one escaped. The Troll Lord himself had seen our skill and sent for aid. As we feasted our success and drank of victory that night the Troll Lord returned and challenged us. Myself and our eight companions faced him down and did slay him though my brother took a grievous wound. The Troll Lord cackled as he fell and we did not know why he at first but then we heard the great flapping of leather wings.

It was then Harak Thatonk (Green Death) had arrived. Even as we fled he breathed upon us. Half our number fell. I made the gate dragging my brother, Sathak. I thought we were safe as I slid the Master Orb in place. The great gates slowly closed. But the creature rushed the gates. Even as the gates closed I saw that baleful eye regarding me, taunting me. It was only then I noticed I’d been dragging a corpse. The Dragon had rend my the lower half of my brother away from me. We’d failed. I’d failed. I faced great punishment from the king and spent my life atoning for my brother’s death that night. At last I was trusted with the task of guarding this gate. To see the dragon slain and the chance to set things aright makes my old heart burn brighter in the hearth of my soul.

You have done much this day more perhaps than you know. Even if the king would refuse you I alone would join my families forces with yours. But I will persuade the King yet, fear not.”

A young dwarf enters and nods to Thardgrim.

“Ah the feast is ready I see. Come dragon slayers let us toast your mighty deeds.”

After the feast there is drinking and merriment; tales of battles of old against Orc, Troll and Giant. At the end they hear the slaying of the Green Death woven into the long ballad, the party’s own deeds.

And so it ends. They are given places to sleep in the feast hall that night and told a Dwarven force of some sort will march to the gate of Long Shadow no more than two days behind them. The True Dreamers have defeated the dragon long separating LongShadow and Silverslag and freed the safe house towers between. The way was opened once more, aid for the siege was guaranteed and a chance for the old alliance to reform. This was a night of the True dream. When great beasts are slain and good company is kept. Could any ask for more?

- The Portal Master.

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MichaelTenery

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